The Serpent’s Mate by Susan Trombley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌏🌏🌍🌎🌏
Character development: 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂
The Setting: Space
The Hero(s): Nahash – an Iriduan male who served his planet in the military, he then volunteered to be a test subject. The Iriduan people go through a metamorphosis between the teen and adult years much like a caterpillar into a butterfly. The geneticists told him that he was signing up for some experiment that would make him go through a second metamorphosis to make him an enhanced soldier. However, the snake DNA they spliced with his took over much more than expected.
The heroine: Cass – she was abducted from Earth and sold to a woman who collected female pheromones in order to catch unsuspecting males with. Once an Iriduan male smelled the scent of his mate, he needed it to survive, so it not only made the males addicted to the scent similarly to a drug, but once mated the males are under the control of the female.
The Love Story: Nahash is the best weapon his society has. On a mission to take out a pirate base, he catches wind of Cass’s scent. She is his mate and he can’t ignore it so he saves her. However, he soon realizes that his superiors will use her to control him. Also, since she is now so valuable, they will also have a bunch of men in the military smell her pheromones and become her harem because multiple men can be mated to one female.
Nahash not only wants Cass for himself, but knows that if given a choice between the more human looking Iriduans in the military and himself with his snakelike appearance, he stands no choice, so he escapes with Cass.
I like the story, it is a good one, though I got a bit disturbed by how non-humanoid he was. Though he is intelligent and has an upper body which is more human-like it is still covered in scales. His genitalia is like that of a snake (2 peens). What freaked me out the most was how Nahash was thinking of how his eating habits differ from hers.
“His teeth and jaw were not designed for chewing, and since the metamorphosis, he’d learned to swallow his food whole. Now accustomed to eating a much larger portion than the ration meals provided, he’d learned to prefer live prey that he squeezed to death before swallowing, expanding his jaw to fit his mouth around it.”
It is one thing for aliens in books to be humanoid versions of a different species, but another to be barely human versions of an animal like a snake. I suppose it shouldn’t matter if they are intelligent life forms, but I guess I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.